In 2008, two years before he announced his retirement, Justice Stevens reversed course and in a concurrence said that he now believed the death penalty to be unconstitutional. But the reason for that change of heart, after more than three decades on the court and some 1,100 executions, has in many ways remained a mystery, and now Justice Stevens has provided an explanation.
In a detailed, candid and critical essay to be published this week in The New York Review of Books, he wrote that personnel changes on the court, coupled with “regrettable judicial activism,” had created a system of capital punishment that is shot through with racism, skewed toward conviction, infected with politics and tinged with hysteria.
TPJ: Stevens is one of the smartest and best supreme court justice that America has ever seen. So, it makes it all the more compelling that he is taking such a strong stand against capital punishment. If justices of the Supreme Court who rule on legality are changing their mind on the death penalty then clearly it is something that American society and Congress need to address. It is barbaric that in such a supposedly civilized country as the U.S. that people are still being killed by the state.
Especially when errors of conviction are occurring all the time. DNA evidence releases a handful of innocent people each year. Everyone talks about being "Pro Life" but then they often support the death penalty!! If "God" is to be the ultimate judge then why do so many people of religious belief still back-up this archaic form of punishment. It seems to me that a killing a prisoner is giving them an easy way out of facing their consequences. Let them sit in prison and think about the crimes that they have committed and the freedom they have lost.
Lock them away so that they never get out--ever. No parole, no nothing but confinement. However, taking the life of another isn't something we should be doing except in extreme cases like wars, self-defense and law enforcement. Every other industrialized, democratic country in the world has outlawed the death penalty except puritanical, America. The only countries besides America who keep it are places like China, Iran and North Korea!!
Finally think about this, "Why do we kill people to show society that killing is wrong?" Isn't that like cutting off your nose to spite your face?